Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan/On the Fly Leaf of Erckmann-Chatrian's novel entitled Madame Thérèse
Chatrian's Novel Entitled
Wavered the foremost soldiers,—then fell back.
Fallen was their leader, and loomed right before
The sullen Prussian cannon, grim and black,
With lighted matches waving. Now, once more,
Patriots and veterans!—Ah! 'Tis in vain!
Back they recoil, though bravest of the brave;
No human troops may stand that murderous rain;
But who is this—that rushes to a grave?
It is a woman,—slender, tall, and brown!
She snatches up the standard as it falls,—
In her hot haste tumbles her dark hair down,
And to the drummer-boy aloud she calls
To beat the charge; then forwards on the pont
They dash together;—who could bear to see
A woman and a child, thus Death confront,
Nor burn to follow them to victory?
I read the story and my heart beats fast!
Well might all Europe quail before thee, France,
Battling against oppression! Years have past,
Yet of that time men speak with moistened glance.
Va-nu-pieds! When rose high your Marseillaise
Man knew his rights to earth's remotest bound,
And tyrants trembled. Yours alone the praise!
Ah, had a Washington but then been found!